In the closing weeks of 2022, the California Air Resources Board (“CARB” or “Board”) approved its final 2022 Scoping Plan, which sets forth a detailed roadmap to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions in order for the state to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045, with an interim goal of achieving a reduction in GHG emissions of 40% below the 1990 level by 2030 (the goal adopted by the State in 2017’s SB 32).

Continue Reading California Air Resources Board Adopts 2022 Scoping Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday published a final rule defining “Waters of the United States,” or WOTUS, which determines the extent of federal regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act. 88 Fed. Reg. 3004-3144 (Jan. 18, 2023). The new rule largely reinstates the longstanding definition of WOTUS first adopted in 1986, as modified by the Supreme Court’s opinion in Rapanos v. United States,547 U.S. 715 (2006). But the final rule comes as the Supreme Court again considers the proper scope of WOTUS in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, which will likely determine the viability of the new definition.

Continue Reading Turbulence Ahead for the Clean Water Act: Agencies Redefine “Waters of the United States” as SCOTUS Prepares to Rule in Sackett v. EPA

After unexpected controversy earlier in the year, on December 15, 2022 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Final Rule unambiguously recognizing the ASTM International Standard E1527-21 for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs), with an effective date of February 13, 2023.[1] EPA’s express endorsement of the standard as meeting the requirements of the All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI) Rule[2] is essential to ensuring that the Phase I ESA fulfills its fundamental purpose: protection for prospective purchasers (and lessees) of property from liability for pre-existing contamination by petroleum products or hazardous substances regulated under the Comprehensive Environmental Response and Cleanup Liability Act (CERCLA).[3]

Continue Reading EPA Endorses New Standard for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments

In response to developers’ continued cry for meaningful reform, changes to or exemptions from the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Res. Code §§ 21000 et seq.) (CEQA) are often included in numerous bills during any California legislative session. 2022 proved to be no exception. While many bills suffered slow deaths in committee, a handful successfully made it to the Governor’s desk and were signed into law. 

Continue Reading 2022 CEQA Legislative Recap

California has approved a new, alternative “Safe Harbor” warning label for foods containing acrylamide, a naturally-occurring byproduct that occurs during high-heat cooking. Whether the new regulation moots the California Chamber of Commerce’s (“CalChamber”) ongoing legal battle against Proposition 65 (“Prop 65”) warning labels[1] remains to be seen.

Continue Reading California’s Newly Adopted “Safe Harbor” Warning Label for Acrylamide In Foods Turns Up the Heat In Ongoing First Amendment Challenge to Proposition 65

In an effort to decrease the skyrocketing development costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Assembly Bill 2097 (AB 2097) aims to eliminate a key obstacle for new developments: parking. More specifically, starting on January 1, 2023, this law prohibits public agencies from imposing minimum automobile parking requirements for residential, commercial and other development projects if the project is located within a 1/2-mile of a “High-Quality Transit Corridor”[1] or a “Major Transit Stop.”[2] 

Continue Reading More Places, Less Spaces: California is Driving Down Development Costs

On November 14, 2022, the Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) published a proposed rule that would amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to require Federal contractors that receive annual Federal contract obligations over a specified amount to disclose their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions[1] and climate-related financial risk, and set science-based targets to reduce GHG emissions.[2] This proposed rule implements section 5(b) of Executive Order 14030, Climate-Related Financial Risk, which we previously wrote about here. The Government will consider comments from interested parties that are submitted by January 13, 2023, after which a final rule will be formulated.

Continue Reading Proposed Rule Requires Contractors to Disclose Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate-Related Financial Risk

Sheppard Mullin is pleased to share the first issue of our quarterly LA Land Use Digest, featuring: updates on the latest legislation from the region (The Council File); exemplary, forthcoming projects (In the Pipeline); and commentary on the latest issues of importance for the land use community (Planning Matters).

Continue Reading Your Los Angeles Region Land Use Digest

This article was originally published at FoodNavigator-USA.

Federal and state agencies are considering restrictions or bans of individual ‘forever chemicals’ PFAS (Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl compounds) or PFAS as a class, while at least 24 putative class actions targeting packaged goods purportedly containing PFAS were filed from January 1 to August 1, 2022 alone. So how widely used are PFAS in the food industry, and how can firms protect themselves from litigation?

Continue Reading PFAS and Food Packaging: Regulatory Changes Create Ripple Effects for PFAs-Related Litigation